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Expecting Wellness: 5 Ways to Protect Your Pelvic Floor During Pregnancy

Pregnancy places a lot of stress on your pelvic floor as it accommodates the extra weight of your growing uterus. The pelvic floor, regardless of childbirth method, weakens up to 25% from pregnancy alone. During labour and birth, your pelvic floor could stretch up to three times its normal length to birth your baby (amazing, right?). Find out more about your amazing pelvic floor here!

The increase in weight and stretching weaken the pelvic floor’s muscles, ligaments, and tissues. This weakness may lead to prolapse or incontinence—something I want to help mummies avoid. With that, I want to reassure you that your body works miraculously and is powerful enough to sort things out independently. A little guidance is beneficial at times, though.

The pelvic floor is vital in women’s health, especially for pregnancy and birth. Being able to contract and relax your pelvic floor during pregnancy is one of the best ways you can begin to prepare for your postpartum recovery.

Here are five ways to prep your pelvic floor:

#1 POOP LIKE A PRO

When constipated, there is extra pressure on the pelvic floor to essentially get it out. Not a one-time episode of constipation here; but rather repeated episodes either before pregnancy or during pregnancy. To relieve this, drink plenty of water (even if you have to pee at night!) and eat a good amount of soluble fibre. Don’t worry, we can also teach you how to poop like a pro! There’s no need to be embarrassed here.

2# LEARN HOW TO ACTIVATE YOUR PELVIC FLOOR MUSCLES THE RIGHT WAY

Unfortunately, research shows that up to 40% of women incorrectly contract their pelvic floor muscles. 25% actually bear down when they should be trying to lift it! This is why we suggest having your pelvic floor assessed by a women’s health physiotherapist. We usually go with an internal vaginal exam. Still, if that’s not appropriate for you, we can use the real-time ultrasound to assist with assessment and training (Check out this Instagram video).

#3 RELAX THOSE MUSCLES!


Like all the muscles in our body, they work to contract and RELAX. Don’t feel too agitated; allow your muscles to relax completely before contracting again. Note that muscles need to relax subconsciously for you to poo or wee and of course, to allow a safe vaginal delivery. Watch this awesome YouTube video on how we poo.

#4 KEEP GOOD POSTURE!

Remember: chest over the pubic bone. Proper alignment and movement will help protect your core and pelvic floor when pregnant. It also helps protect your lower back, especially if you have more than one child.

#5 INTENTIONAL BREATHING

Even something as simple as breathing directly affects how your pelvic floor functions. The diaphragm is connected to the pelvic floor through an intricate network of fascia and ligaments, allowing it to work like a piston. Consider “blow before you go” or exhalation on exertion to lessen the pressure on your pelvic floor.

More than these, it’s best to be on top of your pelvic floor health by seeing a women’s health physiotherapist during pregnancy, especially for a personalised action plan.

Pregnancy is the perfect time to work on your pelvic floor and have it function optimally the way it should, regardless of the mode of delivery! 

Are you pregnant and ready to take charge of your pelvic health? Feel free to call or WhatsApp at 9780 7274 or email us at help@embracephysio.sg so we can discuss what works best for you!

Feel free to look through our website, where you can learn about other women’s health conditions we treat. This is a safe space where we can discuss how we can help you with physiotherapy.

Note: While I am a physiotherapist, I am not your personal physiotherapist. The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as personal medical advice.

References:

  1. https://www.embracephysio.sg/what-is-a-womans-pelvic-floor/
  2. https://www.instagram.com/p/CClSud0n2fE/?igshid=1be2m5fwgg0l6
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbYWhdLO43Q
  4. https://www.embracephysio.sg/why-you-should-get-your-pelvic-floor-muscles-checked-during-pregnancy/
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/B9780123694430500648 (from https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/kegel-exercise)
5 Star Google Reviews
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Years ago, I approached doctors and gynaecologists to find out why penetration was so difficult for me and how to resolve it, but they couldn't understand that it was a problem, possibly because I was young, not married and without children. I later heard about vaginismus, but didn't know what to do about it since I had already approached doctors. In late 2022 I found out from Embrace's social media page that women's health physiotherapy existed, and made an appointment. I worked with Brenda, then Preet. They were able to identify the different muscle groups in my pelvic area, and tell me what exercises I can use to release the tension. I was able to progress from an initial zero-tolerance to touch at the entrance, to the ability to self-insert a 3cm width dilator without issues. My body awareness has increased a lot, and a large mental block about sex and post-pregnancy recovery has cleared. I strongly encourage women facing similar issues to find out if women's health physiotherapy can help you too.

Fresna Lin Avatar Fresna Lin
February 11, 2024

My experience with embrace from start to finish was nothing short of professional, warm and understanding. After my third pregnancy, I had lots of dull, heavy tugging pain low in my abdomen. I had also been suffering for years with urinary hesitancy. Went to so many different doctors and specialists to find out what was causing it, with no luck. It was only when I chanced upon embrace’s blog did I get some insight (or even awareness at all) into women’s pelvic health. I wrote in to enquire, and my worries were met with assurance and suggestions, at no cost. Preet is friendly, approachable and made me feel comfortable throughout what could have been an embarrassing therapy. It was so comforting to finally be heard, understood and not dismissed as “this is normal” the way all the doctors had. No amount of reading up compares to having real time feedback with kegels by a trained professional. 6 months in and I feel a world of difference! If anyone out there feels any less about her body after pregnancy or feels pain or discomfort in any way, or resorted to accepting “this is my new normal”, trust me you’re not alone. If you’re living in the east, I’d recommend embrace physiotherapy. They don’t pressure you to commit to regular sessions at all. No harm giving it a shot!

ayshaalkaff Avatar ayshaalkaff
June 27, 2022

My healing journey at Embrace started exactly 2 years ago, Jan 2021. I saw Preet for DR and other pelvic matters. Preet had excellent bedside manners and I was always comfortable with her. Shortly after, I was able to join the pilates group class taught by Brenda. As I was already a patient, Brenda had access to my condition and was able to check on me each class. Slowly but surely, I was given the go ahead to start running. I felt safe in all my exercise classes at Embrace because Brenda is attentive and had my progress in mind. Even my recent classes with Deborah are just as thoughtful and beneficial. When I had a bad fall late October 2022, Alex helped me through the months of recovery. She identified my "moving injuries" and explained clearly what I had to do to get better. She also has a great sense of humour! My 2 favourite ladies, Su and Alicia, are super cheerful and helpful in scheduling appointments and texting reminders. They are superstars! It's always comforting to step into Embrace. Thanks guys!

May Leung Avatar May Leung
January 14, 2023

Embrace life. Embrace Physiotherapy.

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